Please don't list this on a work's page as a trope. Examples can go on the work's YMMV tab.
Tear Jerker: BioShock
The ending of BioShock 2, when Delta is dying, and it takes every last bit of energy for him to crawl to the top of the craft to be with Eleanor. Oh, god...
The neutral ending, if you choose to sacrifice yourself.
Everything involving Mark Meltzer in BioShock 2, namely his tragic end.
You don't necessarily have to kill him, though, but it's hard to say what's sadder - stumbling upon Mark Meltzer's lifeless body, which moments before was just another Big Daddy, or letting him roam around that crumbling nightmare for the rest of his life, alone (since you are probably just going to save "Cindy" in the next level - saving every little sister).
There's another tearjerker part in here that not a lot of gamers would have caught, but there's a Mills Brother's song in the game called "Daddy's Little Girl", a peaceful song about a man talking proudly how much his daughter means to him. That's right, read all the lyrics, remember Marks' struggle and possible end and all are complete tearjerkers with a heavy dose of Fridge Brilliance and Horror.
The Alpha Series who lost their little sisters and have become highly unstable.
Gil Alexander: "Today I saw one kneeling near a Gatherer's Garden and... and crying."
The whole game's premise, if you consider it. The best thing to happen to the adults of Rapture, formerly some of the best and brightest the world had who left everything on the surface to participate as part of Ryan's dream? They went into hiding if they somehow got lucky. Most died, became insane, or became Big Daddies.
It's even worse if you consider the fate of the children. The Little Sister thing is horrifying enough, but at least the girls got to survive if you Rescued them. The little boys and other girls? Yeah, ponder that.
In the second game, at Ryan's Amusements, you find some audio diaries from a woman named Nina Carnegie. She chaperoned a children's sleepover at the park on New Year's, 1959, when the Rapture civil war broke out. Her last tape is next to her corpse. She helped the children hide from the Splicers for weeks until she starved to death because she gave the children all the food. You don't know what happened to the boys and girls she was watching, but you get a hint from the fact that her body is carefully hidden on a ledge, laid out on a rug and surrounded by decorations and chalk drawings of smiling little girls.
When you realize that there really was no way to save Delta after his link with Eleanor was severed, and the entire reason she had him collect the Big Sister suit was so she could extract the ADAM from his body to preserve his memories and, in a way, his mind.
The good ending for BioShock. If you kill the Little Sisters, you kill the ones that save you and wage war on the surface world with an army of splicers. But if you save them, you take them to the surface, where they live happy, normal lives, and are with you at your deathbed. It's such a marvelous and human ending, especially after all the violence and Body Horror of the preceding game.
Andrew Ryan: "A man chooses! A slave obeys!" and the fact that you really couldn't stop hitting him.
Atlas' family being blown up by Andrew Ryan hits hard. Of course, when Atlas/Fontaine double crossed you, and you were forced to kill Andrew Ryan...
"I really wound you up with that wife and child bit: 'Oh, me poor Moira. Ah, me wee baby Patrick.' Maybe one day I'll get me a real family. They play well with the suckers.
Listening to Masha's parents sob over her on the audio diaries was bad enough. Getting into their room and finding their two corpses curled up on the bed together next to a picture of their daughter and a bottle of pills that they had apparently overdosed on was heartbreaking.
There's another apparent suicide scene in the game, in Mercury Suites. There's just something about the fact that after downing the jar of poison, they apparently sat down to watch one last TV show together as a family before they succumbed to it. Oh, and by the way, God only knows if the kids actually realized they were taking poison.
Near the beginning, you see a woman cooing to a baby in a crib. Once she sees you, she'll attack you, and you have to kill her. When that was done, I looked into the crib and saw that there was no baby in the crib. There never was.
It's been a while since I last played the game, but I think if you kill her before she sees you you find out that the "baby" is actually her revolver.
This section is even more horrifying than that - listen to what she says carefully (subtitles are your friend). She's not cooing. She's mourning. 'Baby and me, BABY AND ME'
Something even more horrifying: 'baby and me' implies the baby has also become a Splicer Yikes.
Sure, Tenenbaum might have had a dodgy past, but even before she mentions being involved in experiments in a prison camp, you have to realize something: if she was a 'Kraut' of Jewish descent, she probably was separated from her own family before being sent there. It somehow makes everything happening with the Little Sisters worse, especially since she grows such a pure devotion to them. Even then, listening to her narrate her maternal revelations is so moving. And then, if you didn't save ENOUGH Little Sisters for the good ending, but didn't kill enough for the bad, the fact that she sounds so sad while explaining your descent into spliced-up maddness makes it seem like she thought she could've saved Jack, given that she was Fontaine's agent for buying the embryo off of his birth mother.
More specifically, it was Tenenbaum's 'Hatred' audio log. At the end, right before she cuts the recording, you hear her voice break followed by the briefest of sobs.
On the topic of female characters in BioShock with sad stories, Diane McClintock. Her fiancee, Ryan, slowly goes crazy and probably spends more intimate moments with Jasmine Jolene, anyway. She's eventually left alone after the New Year's attack ruins her face (and from what the audio diaries and the 'ghost' outside his door imply, Steinman didn't help). Then she goes on to work for Atlas (and it sort of sounded like she was starting to fall for him too, or was at least very loyal) but she walks in on his longest con and he kills her before she can blab his true identity. It's sad because she seemed so normal; there was no hint of going insane. She was just a sad woman caught up in a nightmare. She might be the closest to The Woobie aside from the Little Sisters.
Finding Jasmine Jolene's body on a second playthrough and working out that Jack is her child. Now that was a player punch.
Sullivan's diaries are definite tearjerkers, especially once you start finding the ones where he's given orders to assassinate Anna Cullpepper simply because Sander Cohen hates her music. Then there's the one you can find in Cullpepper's apartment, where a broken Sullivan talks about finding a blanket Cullpepper was knitting, and how he took it, because it just didn't seem right, leaving it unfinished....
"Mr Bubbles... please, please wake up! Please!"
And, in the sequel's demo, a happy tearjerker "Mr. Bubbles? You're all better!"
One of the recording late-game involves Fontaine testing out the "Would you kindly" code on the Player Character as a child. How? By forcing him to strangle his own puppy dog.
Even worse when you listen closely to the Player Character. The kid clearly knows what the keywords are, and it's killing him inside to have no choice but to obey, his body essentially wrestled from his control to do such a horrible act.
Finding the Skinner boxes the Little Sisters were subjected to.
If you forget to go into Sinclair Spirits the first time around, you won't trigger "How Much Is That Doggie In The Window", meaning that the first time you could hear that song in the game would be in the Little Wonders facility. Turns out, in this context and with the full orchestral backing, it's less Soundtrack Dissonance as Lyrical Dissonance.
Oh, and if said lyrics happen to remind you of Suchong's mind control test all over again...
The 'Big Sisters' are Little Sisters too mentally broken to adjust from being in Rapture. As if the concept of being turned into one wasn't bad enough.
BioShock 2 has a Tear Jerker as one of the endings. If you played as a gray area character, you get to choose at the end to either let Eleanor save you, turning her completely evil, or to sacrifice yourself and let her choose her own path. If you go with the latter, The game ends with the sad violins fading out and the screen going to black as a tearful Eleanor's voice says "But Father, wherever you are... I miss you." Cue waterworks.
The worst part was the look Eleanor got after Delta pushed the needle away. How it dawned on her that after all that happened, he would rather die than stay with her. And that everyone else she even knew is dead.
The moment When Delta turns to look at her before he dies and she begins to cry in earnest. For the last portion of the game she is a badass, nigh gamebreaker of a character, but at that moment... At that moment she's just a scared little girl who doesn't want her Daddy to die.
For the entire game, you can't quite get a clear answer to if Delta is simply fulfilling some protection programming in saving her or if he truly does care. That simple gesture, using the last of your strength to get one final look at your daughter before you die, gives you your answer.
The "morals" of BioShock 2 only affect the ending, right? Wrong. Eleanor will be affected by your actions. Kill a few characters or harvest a few little sisters and she'll adopt a similar do-whatever-it-takes-to-survive attitude. That's not the tear jerker. After looking through the eyes of a Little Sister, seeing how they view the world— golden and beautiful, the splicers as pretty costumed people, blood as rose petals, debris as pillows— is saddening on its own. (The music, "My Heart Belongs to Daddy", does not help.) But after giving Eleanor her Big Sister suit, she talks to you, explaining the previously mentioned attitude.
Eleanor: (as she picks up the Little Sister) That means that what I'm about to do is completely natural...
Yes, the little girl you've been playing as is harvested and it's still through her point-of-view!
BioShock 2's opening cutscene. Aside from the hauntingly sad violin music, and when we realize this is from the view of a Big Daddy, which carries its own brand of sadness, when Sofia Lamb shows up, and uses mind control to make the player character shoot himself, all while her own daughter whom she doesn't even love and who is bonded to the player character, is forced to watch... Eleanor's look of horror and the sheer helplessness of the situation is just utterly heartbreaking.
The very beginning is pretty sad in itself. You walk towards a Vent as a lumbering Big Daddy and pull out your Little Sister. Only instead of the demonic children you remember from the first game, you see only a cheerful young girl. As she pulls you along the hallway, you glance at your reflection in the window... it's an incredibly moving moment considering Big Daddies are creatures the player views as emotionless fodder in the first game. For the first time, they are shown to be sentient beings who truly care for the girls they're bound to protect. Even more heart-wrenching is watching the scene after having beaten the game. This is not just a Little Sister... this is Eleanor. Your daughter.
We can't forget about Mark Meltzer now, can we?
Ignoring Cindy's fate, the actual experience of walking into that lab room, seeing what is probably your last Big Daddy getting attacked by splicers, and triumphantly grenading him or what-have-you, only to pan the camera down to his now dim face port to see the caption 'Mark Meltzer', and pan over to sobbing Cindy? If you followed Something in the Sea, and got emotionally involved in his story - following his desperate search for his daughter, reading his scrawls and notes, solving Lutwidge's insane riddles and puzzles, discovering the message hidden on the record, getting Cindy's pleas for help, waking up on a ship, the list goes on - it's all the more heartbreaking.
And there's "Minerva's Den", a new single-player story mode, available as DLC. After the twist revealing that Subject Sigma is Porter, and that it was The Thinker impersonating Porter's personality in order to guide you, it gets even sadder; Sigma/Porter, optionally, finds an Audio Diary where Porter has put his recently-deceased wife's personality into the machine so she can still be with him... but he realizes that he can't live with a fake wife. In the end, Porter follows Tenenbaum to the surface, where not only is his human self restored, but he visits his wife's grave one last time to leave a letter saying he's ready to "let her go her way" on her tombstone, accepting the fact that she's gone. After receiving a PS3 Trophy for beating that campaign, I put the controller down and sobbed.
The pre-Little Sister Eleanor audio diaries you find, knowing what happened to her between then and now. Especially the last one, "My Name Is Eleanor":
ELEANOR: I'm all alone here. Mr. Diary. You're my whispering friend. A doctor keeps coming to see me. He says Rapture needs me, and tomorrow I'll be leaving with him. I ask why... and he just smiles. I'm not an orphan. Mum's alive somewhere. And Aunt Gracie is still probably looking for me. But I can't wait for them. I'm going to escape and find Amir, and we'll steal a submarine. Before it's tomorrow, I'll know what sunshine feels like...
One of the loading-screen quotations in the multiplayer mode of the sequel is from a man who tried to protect his home with Geyser Traps. Someone close to him named "Ditty" apparently tried to mop them up, thinking they were puddles, and the quote is of the man holding the dying woman and begging her not to leave him...
In the first game, go to the Little Sister Orphanage. In one of the girls' rooms, there are two gravestones drawn on the wall. One says "Mommy" the other says "Daddy".
The Little Sisters Orphanage itself is a Tearjerker. It's an orphanage, parents probably gave-up their children because they thought their child would have a better life. Instead the girls that survived the process (and some didn't) were turned into Little Sisters. You even hear advertisements for it over Rapture's PA saying 'Give your little girl the life she deserves.' No child deserves that life...
"*horrible choking cough* So long, kid *cough* ... an' thank you." Then Lamb starts in, saying how you didn't care about Sinclair anyway...
How, in the name of all that is holy, did harvesting Little Sisters in BioShock 2 not come up? In the first one it's pretty sad. In the second one it is absolutely heartbreaking, with the girl screaming "Daddy, no!" the entire time. I was planning to be evil the first playthrough. I couldn't do it.
The Pigskin Splicer's dialogue in the first BioShock is downright wrenching. While most of the Splicers are just drifting through their own little worlds in between bouts of psychopathic rage, the Pigskin spends most of his time weeping and begging to have ten seconds inside his own head, while occasionally hallucinating that his parents have come back to pick him up. When you evade him, he pleads for you to show yourself, because he doesn't want the others to kill him.
Especially since his lines seem to imply that he was pressured into/convinced to take plasmids to 'enhance his game,' several of them trying desperately to convince "Mr Ryan" and possibly others that he's "good enough." Not to mention a few seem to be addressing a girlfriend and may veer back into frightening.
"Uh... Baby? I'm... I'm all calmed down now, okay? So... just open the—"
"Hey, c'mon— Joey's gone, all right? You... You can come out now..."
In the novel BioShock: Rapture, Bill McDonagh's goodbye to his wife and daughter, Elaine and Sophie as they're being allowed to escape from Rapture, with him getting left behind. It wasn't helped by the fact that it's a fatherly sort of thing to say.
Bill's daughter looked over her shoulder at him. Bill tried to fill his mind with the last sight he would have of her.
"Good-bye, love!" he called, waving once. "Your old dad loves you!" Then Elaine pulled Sophie along with her, through a doorway, and out of his sight...
The disintegration of Rapture was a tearjerker by dint of being a Foregone Conclusion: Yet it starts out so optimistically, with people being proud and awestruck that they built a city under the sea. Then begin the leaks both literal and metaphorical, women forced into prostitution because they can't find any other niche in Rapture and can't get away, the growing prevalence of both Splicers and firearms and finally the death of McDonagh, who was part of Rapture from the start and probably its biggest believer, being shot in exchange for letting his family go free. It's as if that moment marks Rapture's total conversion into the hellhole of the first game.
At this point, you can't help but to feel bad for Andrew Ryan. Watching his descent into paranoia as his paradise crumbled was one thing, but he can't even be there to watch his goons carry out his order to execute McDonagh, as if he's aware that this was the last person left who had trusted him and had been trusted.
A very, very bittersweet tearjerker was that Ryan normally crucified and tortured people who tried to escape, but made his goons, who were also McDonagh's friends, shoot him in the head instead because he couldn't bear to see him die.
"Nyet-he understands better than you think." Karlosky said. "A lot of others here, he watched them die. But...he can't be here for this. He told me, He couldn't stand to watch you die, Bill. Not good friend like you..."
Bill smiled. He never heard the gunshot that killed him.
When the Lady Smith splicer isn't being hilarious she dips into Tearjerker territory, believing herself to have been evicted from her estate, rambling about how it was inherited from her parents and how she raised her children there. It's Mood Whiplash to hear her go from insulting Rapture's interior decoration to wondering if her three little angels miss their mommy. They're all gone. Adds another level to Lady Smiths going after Little Sisters, since they think they're "saving" the girls and say things like "Let go of that poor child, she's helpless!" or "Unhand that child, you monster!" Did her own children just grow up, or... ?
The rest of the time she believes she's being evicted, seeing you as ruffians from "the bank" who are invading her house, smashing her family's heirlooms, and stealing her mother's pearls. For a second or two she's just an aging society-lady forced to watch heartless thugs destroy everything she has left.
My mother's pearls..! You bastard!
You can't take my furs! Never!
My heirlooms! Leave them at least!
Her establishing character moment is when you see her and another Splicer in front of a Big Daddy corpse, and her out-of-place comment shows that this woman was in the High-Society of the East Coast not long ago, but is now down to cutting apart genetical abominations for food.
You call that tenderloin? If you serve that in any respectable hotel in New York, they'd laugh you out of town.
Her idle lines, goddammit. These will tug at your heartstrings-
Sometimes I drift away and feel I'm back on the old estate...(sigh) but then I open my eyes.
True friends stick by you through thick and thin... I suppose that now I know who my true friends were!
The times may be unkind, but did you have to take our home? I raised my children there! Bastards!
Hmm, will Eternity be hot or cold? I wonder...I'll bring my shawl.
Mending my own clothes. Who'd of thought, me of all people!?
Picking through the trash for scraps to eat. I'm just grateful Mother doesn't have to see me this way.
My home. Oh my home. How I long for one night in a warm, clean bed. Is that too much to ask?
And when she dies...
Well it was a fun night...
Thank you for coming...
Turn off the lights...
Really, the Splicers in general are a sympathetic bunch when they're not trying to kill you. All of them probably had lofty dreams and people that they cared for before their minds deteriorated.
Sander Cohen. On the surface, he seems like a goofy sociopath with no redeeming traits, what with him turning people into statues and ordering you to kill other artists just because he doesn't like their artwork, but listen to his audio diary "The Wild Bunny". It starts off as an innocent poem about being a little bunny... but then quickly escalates into loud, screaming sobs. Just the thought of how this madman is trapped in his own mind, and is possibly well aware of his own madness (the "Ears", as he calls it), but try as he might he can't escape it, certainly makes those white masks everyone wears all the more symbolic...
Gilbert Alexander's fate: doomed to transform into a hideous monster living inside a giant fishtank in the basement of Fontaine Futuristics; even if you let him live, even if he escapes the building, even if he does manage to somehow recover his sanity, he'll be spending the rest of his life alone in the open ocean. And there's no way of telling how long that's going to be. It only gets worse when you listen to his audio logs and realize that he's lost virtually everything. He's trapped in a particularly hellish part of Rapture; he's going completely insane- and he knows it; he's been abandoned as a failure by Sofia Lamb (the woman he's implied to be in love with); and worst of all, he knows that all his attempts to make amends for turning Eleanor into a Little Sister were all for nothing, because the process that was used on him is now going to used on her. And just listening to his voice during the logs, he doesn't even sound vaguely upset or angry over what's happened to him: if anything, he sounds resigned to his fate.
Perhaps, after my death, you can do more...
Poor Baby Jane. Even before she became a splicer, she had a tragic life (being a failed actress and having to work as a prostitute). There's also one scene early in the first game where you see her sobbing over a baby-sized coffin.
It's even worse in a Easter Egg in Bioshock 2, if you look through a crack in the Pink Pearl. You'll see Baby Jane dragged off by a depraved Breadwinner splicer-then there's the sound of a dress ripping and screams. And there is nothing you can do to help her at all.
"Know that you are my greatest disappointment." Yes, Andrew Ryan has not only accepted that Jack is his son, and in this realizes that he could never kill his own progeny, but has also ranked him as a bigger disappointment than Rapture. That stings. The whole sequence becomes a bit tearjerking once you know the truth. Ryan yells and screams at Atlas like he always has, but he lowers his tone almost to that of speaking with a child when talking to Jack. It's either sad because Ryan knows he is faced with the dilemma of being killed by or killing his own (possibly four year old) son, or it's sad because the father Jack never knew is forcing him to assist in his suicide. Either way when the horror wears off you're going to be depressed.